Unravelling Polymers

The Definitive Blog on Polymers by Poly Fluoro Ltd.

Enhancing Electrical Systems: The Versatility of PTFE Busbar Supports

The growth of Electric Vehicles (EVs) has necessitated the use of materials more attuned to the management of current than that of fuel. Whereas the combustion engine was all about maximising fuel efficiency, with EVs the challenge lies in minimizing the leakage of current and improving the range a vehicle can obtain in a single charge.

A crucial and often overlooked component in all this is the humble busbar. These conductive strips serve as a pathway for electrical current within the vehicle's power distribution system. As the demand for EVs grows, the need for more efficient and reliable busbar insulation becomes increasingly evident. Among the various materials used for busbar supports, polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) stands out for its unique combination of properties and versatile applications.

PTFE, commonly known by its brand name Teflon, is a fluoropolymer renowned for its exceptional electrical insulation, chemical resistance, and low friction characteristics. These properties make PTFE an ideal material for busbar supports, where it can effectively isolate electrical conductors from their surroundings while providing mechanical support and stability.

One of the primary advantages of PTFE busbar supports is their outstanding electrical insulation properties. PTFE exhibits high dielectric strength, allowing it to withstand high voltages without electrical breakdown or leakage. This property is crucial for maintaining the integrity of electrical connections and preventing short circuits or other electrical faults. Additionally, PTFE's low dielectric constant minimizes signal distortion and loss, making it particularly well-suited for high-frequency applications common in modern electrical systems.

Furthermore, PTFE is highly resistant to chemical corrosion and degradation, even in harsh environments. Unlike metal or organic materials that may corrode or deteriorate over time when exposed to moisture, chemicals, or extreme temperatures, PTFE remains unaffected. This inherent chemical inertness ensures the long-term reliability and durability of PTFE busbar supports, making them suitable for a wide range of industrial and automotive applications.

Another notable advantage of PTFE busbar supports is their low friction coefficient. PTFE has one of the lowest coefficients of friction among solid materials, resulting in minimal resistance to movement or sliding. This property is particularly beneficial in applications where busbars need to be inserted, removed, or adjusted regularly, as it reduces wear and frictional losses. Additionally, the low friction surface of PTFE busbar supports facilitates smooth and effortless installation, minimizing the risk of damage to electrical components or insulation.

Moreover, PTFE busbar supports offer excellent mechanical strength and dimensional stability. Despite its relatively low density, PTFE exhibits high tensile strength and resistance to deformation under load. This allows PTFE busbar supports to withstand mechanical stress and vibration without compromising their structural integrity or electrical insulation properties. Additionally, PTFE maintains dimensional stability over a wide temperature range, ensuring precise tolerances and consistent performance in varying operating conditions.

The versatility of PTFE extends beyond its electrical and mechanical properties to its ease of fabrication and customization. PTFE busbar supports can be easily machined, with inserts being embedded into the material to aid mechanical strength. The design can be customized to meet the client’s application and small batch manufacturing is also possible, since no moulds or dies are needed. Whether it's a simple standoff or a custom-designed support with intricate features, PTFE can be tailored to suit the unique needs of each electrical system.

In conclusion, PTFE busbar supports offer a compelling combination of electrical insulation, chemical resistance, low friction, and mechanical strength, making them indispensable components in modern electrical systems. Whether in industrial automation, telecommunications, automotive, or renewable energy applications, PTFE busbar supports provide the reliability, durability, and performance required for critical electrical connections. As the demand for efficient and reliable electrical systems continues to grow, the versatility and effectiveness of PTFE busbar supports will undoubtedly remain unmatched.

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Enhancing PTFE Performance - Ekanol, ATSP and their synergies in PTFE properties

Material science has always relied on the synergies between two disparate materials to create a whole that is far greater than the sum of its parts. In this manner, PTFE is no different.

Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), commonly known by the brand name Teflon, has revolutionized various industries with its exceptional chemical resistance, low friction properties, and high-temperature stability. Despite its remarkable attributes, engineers and material scientists are constantly seeking ways to further enhance its performance for specific applications. In addition to this, processors, eager to protect their market, have often resorted to special formulations that offer unique properties that only they would know how to replicate.

Over time, fillers of bronze, glass, and carbon became regularised within PTFE, lending well understood boosts in wear properties, creep, and dimensional stability. However, two promising fillers, Ekanol and ATSP, have emerged as potential game-changers in the world of PTFE.

Ekanol: A Breakthrough Filler

Ekanol, a proprietary carbon-based filler, has gained significant attention for its ability to enhance the mechanical properties of PTFE. The introduction of Ekanol into PTFE formulations has been shown to improve wear resistance, tensile strength, and thermal conductivity.

One of the key advantages of Ekanol is its ability to act as a reinforcing agent. By compounding Ekanol with PTFE, the resulting composite material exhibits increased tensile strength, making it suitable for applications requiring higher mechanical performance. Additionally, Ekanol-filled PTFE demonstrates enhanced wear resistance, addressing a common concern associated with pure PTFE in applications subjected to friction and abrasion.

Furthermore, the thermal conductivity of PTFE is significantly improved with the addition of Ekanol. This enhancement is crucial for applications where efficient heat dissipation is essential, such as in electrical insulators or components of high-performance machinery. The synergistic combination of PTFE's intrinsic properties and Ekanol's reinforcing characteristics opens new possibilities for the material's application in diverse industries.

Aromatic Thermosetting Polyester (ATSP): A Leap Forward in Dimensional Stability

ATSP, an aromatic thermosetting polyester, introduces a distinct set of advantages to PTFE when used as a filler. This nanostructured material has shown promise in enhancing electrical properties and dimensional stability, making it a valuable addition to PTFE composites.

One of the standout features of ATSP is its ability to impart excellent dielectric properties to PTFE. This positions ATSP-filled PTFE as an ideal candidate for applications in the electronics and telecommunications industries, where high electrical insulation is paramount. The nanostructured nature of ATSP ensures a uniform distribution within the PTFE matrix, contributing to consistent and reliable electrical performance.

Beyond electrical properties, ATSP significantly improves the dimensional stability of PTFE. This is especially crucial in applications where precise tolerances and minimal expansion or contraction over a range of temperatures are essential factors. The incorporation of ATSP mitigates the effects of thermal expansion, providing a more stable material suitable for aerospace, automotive, and other demanding environments.

Synergy Unleashed: Ekanol and ATSP in Combination

Recent research has explored the synergistic effects of combining Ekanol and ATSP as fillers in PTFE, unlocking new dimensions of material performance. This innovative approach aims to harness the individual strengths of each filler, creating a PTFE composite with a well-balanced set of properties.

The combination of Ekanol and ATSP presents a harmonious blend of mechanical strength, thermal conductivity, electrical insulation, and dimensional stability. This opens up avenues for applications where a comprehensive set of properties is essential, such as high-performance gaskets, seals, and bearings used in critical industrial machinery.



The incorporation of Ekanol and ATSP as fillers in PTFE marks a significant stride in the evolution of advanced materials. These fillers not only address specific limitations of PTFE but also open up new possibilities for tailored applications in diverse industries. The synergistic effects observed when combining Ekanol and ATSP highlight the potential for creating PTFE composites with a broad spectrum of enhanced properties. As research continues to unravel the full potential of these fillers, the future holds exciting prospects for PTFE and its role in shaping technological advancements across various sectors.

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Optimizing Solar Tracker Bearings for Enhanced Solar Energy Harvesting

In the pursuit of sustainable energy sources, solar power stands out as a prominent solution for mitigating the environmental impact of traditional energy generation methods. While wind and hydroelectric energy are no doubt gaining traction, solar power remains our most abundant source of energy. Harvesting this efficiently is the key to moving into a phase where fossil fuels are no longer vital to the survival of industry. 

Solar trackers play a crucial role in maximizing the efficiency of solar panels by ensuring they follow the sun's trajectory throughout the day. This is especially needed in countries further away from the equator, where the angle of the sun changes more dramatically with seasons and where the intensity of the sunlight is weak and therefore needs to be harvested more effectively.

At the heart of these solar trackers are specialized components known as bearings, which enable smooth and precise movement, and which reduce the friction of the system, allowing for less energy consumption. This article delves into the significance of solar tracker bearings, their types, and the advancements in bearing technology that contribute to the optimization of solar energy harvesting.

The Basics of Solar Tracker Bearings:

Solar trackers are devices that orient solar panels to face the sun, maximizing the amount of sunlight they receive and, consequently, the energy they generate. Bearings are fundamental components of solar trackers, facilitating the movement of the tracking system. The primary purpose of these bearings is to enable the solar panels to follow the sun's path from sunrise to sunset, ensuring they are always positioned at an optimal angle to capture sunlight.

Ultimately, solar energy is a weak source when compared with non-renewable sources. Hence, the power that is generated by a solar plant needs to exceed the power used to run the plant if the project is expected to be viable. Building efficiencies into the system minimise the energy consumption. Low friction solar tracker bearings that allow easy movement  of the solar panels are therefore crucial.

Types of Solar Tracker Bearings:

Azimuth Bearings:

Azimuth bearings enable horizontal rotation of the solar tracker, allowing it to follow the sun's east-west movement. These bearings play a pivotal role in ensuring that solar panels are oriented correctly throughout the day.

Elevation Bearings:

Elevation bearings, on the other hand, facilitate the vertical movement of solar trackers, ensuring that panels can track the sun's movement on its daily arc. These bearings are critical for adjusting the tilt angle of the solar panels based on the sun's position in the sky.

Polar Bearings:

Polar bearings are responsible for the rotational movement of the solar tracker around the polar axis. This rotation is essential for tracking the sun's seasonal variations, accommodating changes in its elevation angle throughout the year.

Advancements in Solar Tracker Bearing Technology:

With the advancements in polymer technology, the option now exists to make bearings that withstand high loads, offer low friction with minimal lubrication, and are highly cost effective against metal bearings.

Experimenting with different formulations that optimise all elements of the solar tracker bearing’s functions yields certain elements that are essential in building an effective bearing solution. These include:

  1. 3D modelling to create an efficient, low-weight lattice structure that can accommodate the required radial loads of 1.5-2 Tonnes. Lower weight also means the bearings are far more cost effective 

  2. The incorporation of friction reducing additives that, if blended properly, will allow the bearings to smoothly function with no external lubrication. Early bearings manufactured from plain polymers were working will in the summer. But once winter set in, loud squeaking sounds could be heard as the tracker rotated the panels. A new friction-reducing formulation erased this issue completely

  3. The addition of UV protection additives that ensure that 99.9% of ultraviolet radiation does not penetrate below 0.1mm of the bearing surface. This has allowed our bearings to undergo 100-year tests and suffer no observable polymer degradation at the end

  4. The development of housing using complementary polymers that offer the lowest coefficient of friction against the bearing.

The benefits of Solar Tracker Bearings made with these factors considered are many

  1. Maintenance-Free - Traditional bearings may require regular maintenance to ensure optimal performance, but advancements in bearing technology have led to the development of maintenance-free bearings. These bearings, often sealed or lubricated for life, reduce the need for frequent inspections and maintenance, contributing to the overall reliability of solar tracker systems.

  2. High Precision and Accuracy - Precision and accuracy are crucial factors in solar tracking systems. Modern bearings are designed with enhanced precision, minimizing tracking errors and ensuring that solar panels consistently align with the sun. This increased accuracy results in higher energy yields from solar installations.

  3. Durability in Harsh Environments - Solar trackers are deployed in outdoor environments where they are exposed to varying weather conditions. Advanced bearing formulations are engineered to withstand harsh environmental factors such as extreme temperatures, humidity, UV, and other corrosive elements, ensuring long-term durability and performance.

  4. Low FrictionSolar Tracker Bearings are designed to minimize energy losses during the rotation of the solar trackers. By reducing friction, these bearings enhance the overall efficiency of the tracking system, allowing solar panels to smoothly follow the sun's movement with minimal energy consumption.

  5. Dual-Axis Tracking Systems - While single-axis tracking systems follow either the horizontal or vertical movement of the sun, dual-axis tracking systems incorporate both azimuth and elevation tracking. Bearings in dual-axis systems are specially designed to facilitate complex movements, ensuring precise alignment with the sun at all times. This results in even greater energy capture efficiency, especially in locations with high solar irradiance.


The capability to design the bearings, create a precise formulation of the polymer based on the environment of use, and mould or even machine the bearings and housings as needed is what sets apart companies looking to engineer bearings rather than simply mould them from a template. This all-round capability allows us to treat each project as unique and develop a solution that effectively targets the customer’s needs and boosts the overall efficiency of the project.

It is likely that as the industry matures, the bearing technology too will evolve. Nonetheless, we expect to be at the forefront of this product that is at the heart of the green energy revolution.

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